An example of a false ad that was being used – a photo with me in it from “Three For Love” album from 1979 – and someone else’s name in it’s place.
In the continued aftermath of my legal trademark registration efforts brought on to stop the false and misleading ads and misuse of my likeness related to my days as an original member of Shalamar by others, I’ve been contacted by quite a few former members who wish to remain anonymous from other groups inspired by my efforts wanting advice. This means so much to me. For avoidance of doubt, my legal USPTO # is 4, 530, 877. Despite the ongoing challenge process to cancel my registration with the TTAB (Trademark and Appeals Board) from the step-daughter of Dick Griffey, I remain the owner and entitled to all rights as such until she has successfully proved her challenge and proves that she is the legal owner under trademark law.
Few outlets will cover this aspect of the business to enlighten other aspiring or veteran artists who end up feeling helpless in many cases. Imagine seeing a concert that you’ve not been asked to be a part of, while your image is used to help generate more income for others. Some still ask, what is she doing? Why this – why that. The why is business though others have made it personal against me. It has changed the way they go about their ads now – make no mistake about it. That’s a success in itself.
Women in business, as I’ve stated many times are often marginalized and have their voices silenced or ending up discouraged and out of the business altogether. Sexism is one of the many isms pervasive in society. Throughout my career, I’ve talked about business and those elements, though more often the conversation is style, fashion, being a teen dancer one of my least favorite topics at this point beyond speaking on always be tenacious and determined with a vision for yourself. People are to quick to give up their power because they don’t feel they have any.
It’s a sad fact in this industry that until artists decide to look into business matters deeper than you might otherwise and to not to intimidated by threats or other tactics to discourage efforts in either establishing long overdue rights and or gaining control over your image and likeness, as well as potential music ownership it will continue to be an unfortunate reality to many. I’m proud to have quietly inspired others to handle their business. What you experienced in your teens, 20’s 30’s and so forth – every step is a lesson.
Just because someone claims to own something – they must prove it with real and legitimate receipts and paperwork. Check into it, don’t assume and beware of smoke and mirrors.
(Update): To potential buyers – ignore the phone calls, meritless threats of facing ‘a big lawsuit’ and efforts to not only undermine my business efforts with the new group but to damage my reputation with false and libelous allegations.
It’s ongoing, however these are my rights.
June 21, 2016
Cease and Desist:
Re: Ongoing Infringement of Jody Watley’s U.S. Trademark
Registration No. 4,530, 877 for “SHALAMAR”
I’m writing to you on behalf of our client Jody Watley concerning the numerous false statements (both written and oral) that have been and continue to be made by you and your colleagues about Ms. Watley’s ownership and registration of the trademark SHALAMAR.
Please be advised that Ms. Watley is the official owner of U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,530,877 for such mark (the “Registration”), which Registration remains valid and subsisting.
Specifically, we understand that each of you, individually and/or in concert with Ms. Carolyn Baldwin, have given interviews, made public statements, and posted written comments on social media of a false and defamatory nature concerning Ms. Watley and the Registration, including statements that Ms. Watley’s actions are “illegal,” that the Registration was obtained by fraud, that Ms. Watley has no right to the Registration, and that Ms. Baldwin is the owner of the “Shalamar” trademark, among others.
You should be aware that, under U.S. trademark law, as codified in Chapter 22 of Title 15 of the United States Code (the “Lanham Act”), Ms. Watley’s Registration conveys, inter alia, the right to exclusive use of the mark in connection with the goods and services identified in the Registration, which includes entertainment in the nature of live musical performances. Ms. Watley therefore has the right, under the law, to prevent any other party from using the same mark in connection with the same or related goods or services, or otherwise in a manner that is likely to confuse the consuming public. The benefits of ownership of a federal trademark registration, including the right to stop infringing uses of the mark, such as those being made by your clients, remain firmly in place until such time as the registration is surrendered or rights in the mark abandoned by the trademark owner.
As Ms. Jones previously advised Ms. Baldwin’s manager Michael Gardner on June 3, 2014 (the “Jones Correspondence”), any US performance by you and/or Ms. Baldwin under the name “Shalamar” constitutes an unlawful and unauthorized use of Ms. Watley’s trademark, in direct violation of the Lanham Act and the exclusive rights granted to Ms. Watley by her federal registration. In addition, any use of the “Shalamar” name to advertise or promote such an unlawful performance would similarly violate Ms. Watley’s rights under the Lanham Act.
To be clear, it is the U.S. Registration obtained by Ms. Watley, along with the common law rights that she has acquired through her ongoing commercial use of the mark throughout the U.S., that provides her with the right to object to and curtail all infringing activities. No court order is required in order for Ms. Watley to assert and/or enforce her exclusive rights in the SHALAMAR trademark, as imparted on her by the Lanham Act as the trademark’s owner, including to truthfully advise third parties (such as CelebrityAcceess) of her rights and ownership of the SHALAMAR trademark and registration. It is these rights, conveyed by the Lanham Act, by which you and your clients must abide.
Any attempts to register Ms. Baldwin’s musical group with promoters or databases in the US, such as the CelebrityAccess database, under the name “Shalamar” is therefore in direct violation of Ms. Watley’s exclusive rights in the SHALAMAR trademark. The inclusion of the word “Featuring” does nothing to eliminate the likelihood that those persons familiar with the SHALAMAR trademark would believe, in error, that any musical performance promoted under the name “Shalamar” originates from, is associated or sponsored by, or is provided under license or permission from, Ms. Watley as the owner of all U.S. rights in the mark and name.
Additionally, any third parties participating or assisting in such unlicensed and unlawful uses, such individuals or venues using the “Shalamar” name in advertising or promoting live musical performances, would be liable for vicarious and/or contributory trademark infringement, subjecting such parties to penalties, including punitive and/or compensatory damages, injunctive relief, and payment of court costs and attorneys fees, under U.S. Trademark Law.
Further, any attempts by you and Ms. Baldwin to promote her musical group in the U.S. using the “Shalamar” name is in direct conflict with Mr. Gardner’s prior agreement on June 3, 2014, conveyed during his telephone call with Ms. Jones in response to the Jones Correspondence, and wherein he acknowledged receipt of the Ms. Jones’ letter and agreed the group would abide by the restrictions set out in the Jones Correspondence.
As a result, your and Ms. Baldwin’s (and your respective representatives’) ongoing efforts to promote yourselves under the name “Shalamar” and/or attempt to secure dates and venues within the US to perform as “Shalamar” without license or permission of the Registration owner represent acts of unfair competition as well as ongoing acts of infringements of the exclusive rights provided under the Trademark Law. Such activities are a source of great harm to Ms. Watley and the valuable goodwill she has developed in the SHALAMAR trademark, as well as a source of confusion to the purchasing public. These infringing activities are intentional and are being undertaken in bad faith, with the full knowledge of Ms. Watley’s rights, and in direct breach of the parties’ prior agreement, as set forth between yourself and Ms. Jones on June 3, 2014.
Finally, at the time Ms. Watley lawfully filed for and obtained the Registration, there was no other party that possessed a federal or state trademark registration for the “Shalamar” trademark, and in fact, at no time did Mr. Griffey or SOLAR Records register such trademark. Any rights in the “Shalamar” name or trademark had long been abandoned by Mr. Griffey and SOLAR Records. Mr. Watley was entirely within her legal rights to file for and register the trademark “SHALAMAR” as she did, and the Registration was lawfully obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and has been (and continues to be) lawfully used by Ms. Watley. Therefore, any statements by you (alone or in concert with Ms. Baldwin) that Ms. Watley acted illegally or unlawfully, or that the Registration is invalid or improperly obtained, constitute knowingly false, defamatory statements, are harmful to our client and to her business ventures, are likely to interfere with her contractual relationships, and are actionable at law.
Therefore, on behalf of Ms. Watley, we hereby demand that you cease publically making and distributing false statements (oral and written) concerning the Registration, Ms. Watley and her use of the “SHALAMAR” trademark and name. Additionally, we once again demand that you and your partners, employees and/or agents cease all use of the “Shalamar” name in connection with musical performances in the US and with all and any advertising and/or promotional efforts on behalf of Ms. Baldwin and/or your musical group, along with any other actions or activities that infringe Ms. Watley’s trademark rights.
Please be advised that Ms. Watley will continue to use all available tools, and take whatever actions she deems necessary, to protect her valuable trademark rights, and if necessary will pursue all rights and remedies available against you and your clients, and any associated or affiliated persons or entities who have materially participated in the unlawful activities described herein.
This letter should not be construed as full recitation of the facts supporting Ms. Watley’s claims, her rights in connection with this matter, or a complete listing of her possible claims against you, Ms. Baldwin or any other person(s) associated with the Baldwin/Daniel/Hewett musical group and their activities.
Nothing contained herein is intended, nor should be construed, as a waiver (express or implied) of any of Ms. Watley’s rights, remedies, or positions, at law, in equity or otherwise, each and all of which are hereby expressly reserved, and shall in no way prejudice Ms. Watley should further action be required to protect her valuable intellectual property rights.
Very truly yours,
LOVITZ IP LAW PC
A Professional Corporation
MICHAEL L LOVITZ
cc: Jody Watley (via e-mail)
Carolyn Baldwin (via e-mail)
Gregory L. Wilkinson (via e-mail)